Have I ever shared how I discovered Montessori? I’ll have to write a post about it. The short version is that I visited and observed a Montessori classroom and the experience changed my life.
One of the things I observed that day was the children setting the table for lunch. It was such a beautiful sight. This is a staple activity in most Montessori classrooms, regardless of age.
– It meets the need for movement: the child goes back and forth from table to shelf to bring table mats, plates, utensils etc.
– It meets the child’s need for language. He can mention the name of each object, the different shapes, the materials- glass, wood, metal, cloth etc. He can talk about the process, the other children whose places he is setting etc.
– It meets the child’s need for order. There is a place for everything and it gives him an opportunity to be exact.
Setting the table is a great way to teach service to others, care of self, others and the environment. It helps build community and appreciation between children whether it be classmates or siblings.
It helps the child refine his movements and learn to be careful especially when the dishes are glass.
Since we came home, I have been gradually modifying our environment to meet the needs of my two boys. I try to make changes gradually and watch for signs that they are ready. I first set up the basic environment. I moved the hand washing station to the living room and added a water dispensing station.
He knew how to use the hand washing station so we worked on getting water from the dispenser and then getting into the routine of eating at the table with his brother.
As part of this process, he was responsible for filling up their glasses and clearing the table. He would take the dishes to the kitchen one at a time.
The videos and pictures are pretty self explanatory so I’ll just let you watch them. As usual, they keep it real and are far from perfect. You will hear the baby fussing in the background and see items from our outdoor area inside. We had a storm the night before. The same storm also caused the mirror to fall off the wall but that’s just real life around here! Happy to answer any questions in the comments.
And wipes the table while his brother watches on, absorbing the process.
When the dishes are clean, he brings them back and arranges them on the shelf
I love how he finishes and just walks away, moving on to other things… No praise or external gratification required.
Ps. It wasn’t intentional but I love how our dishes and cups have brought him in practical contact with a circle, square and rectangle.
I’m happy to answer any questions. Do you have your child’s meal process set up to facilitate independence?
Live a Good Life!